One azure San Francisco summer afternoon, Viktor Rastovich, Russian immigrant, gangster, and single father of one, receives this phone call: "Daddy, I've been kidnapped." The kidnapper's demands are at first strange, at times even ridiculous. But when Rastovich fails to comply with a particularly unreasonable demand, the kidnapper sends the distraught father a toe, which he identifies as his daughter's. At this point Rastovich, in spite of his virulent prejudice against African-Americans, hires Harley David, a private detective, to find his daughter. David, in turn, enlists his friend, Andrew MacCrimmon, a retired pathologist, to handle the technical aspects of the case, such as DNA testing. When they finally identify the kidnapper, and rescue the girl, the situation takes a bizarre turn when the kidnapper snatches MacCrimmon's daughter, Andrea, a medical student. She escapes but only after a farcical car chase. When MacCrimmon meets Rastovich's henchman, Donny Petrovsky, in an alley behind a massage parlor to return money the kidnapper stole from him, the enraged kidnapper confronts them. In the ensuing chaotic gun battle the kidnapper, Petrovsky, and MacCrimmon are all shot. Lying in a gutter in a widening puddle of his own blood, Andrew MacCrimmon whispers to the darkening sky, "Dying this way... in this alley reeking of urine... is a little more absurd than is quite necessary." But this is just the beginning of the bloodshed.